Luna, Jan 2004, 24.95, 432 pp.
After years of being little more than a slave to her odious stepmother and stepsisters, Elena Klovis gets her first taste of freedom when they are forced to flee the country, one step ahead of the creditors. Elena, known to the townsfolk's as Ella Cinders, attends the Mop Fair hoping to be hired on as someone's servant but everyone is afraid that Madam Klovis will return and they don't want to feel her wrath.
Just as Elena is ready to leave the fair, Madame Bella the fairy godmother offers her an apprentice position, which the lass accepts. Elena learns quickly and becomes the fairy godmother when Bella retires. She judges those contenders who want to win the princess and the kingdom. Only one of the claimants meets with her approval and she sends him on a quest with some tips to help him succeed. One of the pursuers she dumps in the forest, unable to leave until he mends his ways. Another prince she turns into an ass and takes home with her where he toils for his food and lodging until he learns to behave like a decent man. Elena has no idea what she will come to feel for Alexander.
This is the launch book for Harlequin's Luna imprint and if THE FAIRY GODMOTHER is any example, the imprint will be a smashing success. At times whimsical and at other times very action oriented, this romantic fantasy will please readers of both genres very much so. Fans of Mercedes Lackey will see a different style in her writing, one that is lighter and at times very comical. This book expands the boundaries of the romantic fantasy sub-genre.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner